TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Getting information From:Matt Ion <soundy -at- SOUNDY -dot- ORG> Date:Mon, 22 Mar 1999 13:05:54 -0800
On Mon, 22 Mar 1999 13:42:24 -0700, Ben Kovitz wrote:
>Anyone care to offer anything? I've just added Matt's interesting notes on
>schmoozing to my list...
>> Heck, one of the best ways to get knowledge from someone is to
>> play stupid - people LOVE to show others how smart they are! :)
>Playing dumb is one of my favorite techniques, too. (And often
>it's not acting.) One of many advantages is that it gets
>people to talk about the very elementary things that seldom come
>up in conversation because normally they have to be assumed.
Indeed; this one, I picked up from my Dad. He's been in construction for
30 years, usually self-employed as contractor/carpenter, and could
probably frame a house in his sleep. And yet, there's ALWAYS something
that others know that he doesn't, and the younger guys he finds are
especially willing to show off to the old farts :)
I suppose it's not so much "playing dumb" as it is showing a small "gap"
in the knowledge you want to extract. For example, if I was doing
illustrations and knew that someone had particular expertise in the
graphics package I'm using, I might ask for just a little help in getting
one particular function to operate properly, or in finding a shortcut. A
look of awe, a "whoa, that's cool, where'd you learn that?" as the
"expert" struts his stuff can often be parlayed into a brief training
session in handy tips'n'tricks.
Heh... it's worked FOR me as well as ON me. Heck, isn't that what happens
all the time on this list?
Your friend and mine,
<All standard disclaimers apply>
"Reality is in alpha test on protoype hardware."
"So now that the company is losing money pushing NT, I'm sure the
boneheads on Wall Street think it's a stupendous investment. I am
really beginning to feel like I stepped through the looking glass and
landed into Wonderland. Black is White, Rich is Poor, Startup to
Shutdown and NT is Best. Very weird."
- Mark Dodel